Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on Sunday said he would order an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation into alleged phone surveillance during the tenure of the previous Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) government , PTI reported. Last week, the chief minister had ordered a police investigation into the alleged tapping of phones of politicians, police officials and journalists.
“Several leaders, including Congress Legislature Party leader Siddaramaiah, have said it should be probed and truth should come out, so I have decided to order a CBI probe,” Yediyurappa said. “Tomorrow itself I will order the probe.” He added that people of the state expected a detailed investigation into the matter.
Several Congress leaders, including M Mallikarjun Kharge and MB Patil, on Sunday demanded an inquiry into the controversy, Congress Legislature Party leader Siddaramaiah lauded the chief minister’s decision.
“I welcome the decision of BS Yediyurappa to hand over the phone tapping case to CBI,” he tweeted. “But, in the past, Bharatiya Janata Party has used CBI as its puppet to unleash its venomous political vendetta. Hope BJP’s Karnataka leaders do not have similar intentions this time.”
He also brought to attention “Operation Kamala”, or Operation Lotus, and said the CBI should also look into it. “I heard they acted on my advice in phone-tapping case and I hope they act on this issue as well,” Siddaramaiah added.
Operation Lotus is a term used by the Congress to refer to the saffron party’s alleged attempts to lure Opposition legislators to join its camp and guarantee the stability of its government under BS Yeddyurappa in 2008.
Former Chief HD Kumaraswamy, who has already refuted the allegations, said he would have panicked if he were guilty. “Let them do any inquiry, whether it is a CBI inquiry or any other agency of international standard, or let them talk to Trump [US President Donald Trump] and get it inquired through some one from his side,” PTI quoted him as saying. He said the BJP and the Congress’s previous terms at power should also be investigated.
On Friday, senior Congress leader DK Shivakumar had denied the surveillance allegations. The controversy gained momentum after disqualified Janata Dal (Secular) MLA AH Vishwanath, who had served as the party’s state president, accused the coalition government of tapping 300 phones during its 14-month tenure.
The alleged phone tapping came to light after the medi got its hands on an audio tape of Bengaluru Police Commissioner Bhaskar Rao.